Friday, May 6, 2016

BARU BIAN: ENTICING THE CHURCH WITH MONEY IS SACRILEGIOUS

PRESS STATEMENT
6 MAY 2016

Barisan National has hit a new low with the latest promise of money for the churches in Ba’ Kelalan 2 days before polling day. They will stoop to the lowest level to get votes from the Christian Lun Bawang community. The Christian Minister who was sent in from Sabah to perform this heinous act should be thoroughly ashamed for allowing himself to be used as a tool by the BN.

Since the BN wants to influence our Christians, instead of insulting their intelligence by throwing money promises at the people, the Minister should explain why their Malay-speaking Christian brothers and sisters in peninsula Malaysia are not allowed to use the word ‘Allah’, and he should also explain why the Jill Ireland case was allowed to be dragged on for so long, not to mention the confiscation of the Christian educational material at Kuching Port and at LCCT several years ago.

The churches have been neglected by BN for decades and for them to suddenly be so generous with promises only shows their insincerity. I urge the Christians in Ba’ Kelalan to be steadfast and to hold on to their integrity and pride. Our votes are sacred and the BN must not be allowed to defile our churches by their cheap attempt at vote-buying.

This unsavoury act by the BN proves one thing. Voting for the opposition sends a message to the BN that the voters are waking up to their empty promises. Voting for the opposition wakes the BN up to the neglect the people have been suffering. Voting for the opposition ensures that the BN will pay more attention to the people’s grouses and finally consider the basic amenities that should have been provided years ago.

The voters of Ba’ Kelalan and the rest of Sarawak must make a strong stand tomorrow against the underhanded tactics of the BN. Continue to vote for PKR for a better government.

Baru Bian
N81 Ba’ Kelalan

BARU BIAN: PKR’S RESOLVE TO STRIVE FOR JUSTICE UNSHAKABLE


PRESS STATEMENT
6 MAY 2016

The caretaker Chief Minister may ban anyone he wishes, but we, Sarawakian PKR leaders, are here, and we will always be here to continue our quest to offer Sarawakians a better and brighter future under a government that upholds the rule of law and protects the rights of all Sarawakians.

The refusal of entry for Azmin Ali this morning is highly regrettable and we hope it will not jeopardise the inter-governmental relationship between Sarawak and Selangor.

Barisan National should note that we are made of sterner and stronger stuff than they give us credit for. We have been through more difficult situations than this throughout our years of struggling for justice and fairness for Sarawakians.

Lastly, we wish to offer our condolences to the family of Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Noriah Kasnon whose body has reportedly been recovered near the helicopter crash site. We offer our prayers for the rescue or recovery of the remaining persons who were in the helicopter.  The best news we can hope for as we approach the end of the last campaigning day is their safe return.

Baru Bian
See Chee How
Ali Biju
Francis Teron
Jazolkipli bin Numan
Nurhanim Mokhsen
Mohamed Salleh bin Shawkatali
Voon Shiak Ni
Athina Klaywa Sim
Abang Junaidi bin Abang Gom
Willie Mongin
Musa ak Ngog
Alex Sabena k Nipong
Jamilah Baharuddin
Abang Zulkifli bin Abang Engkeh
Nicholas Mujah anak Ason
Jubri ak Atak
Norina Umoi ak Utot
Nicholas Bawin
Kolein Liong
Yakup Daud
Vernon Kedit
Noel Bucking
Jemat Panjang
Semana Sawang
Thomas Laja
George Chen Nguk Fa
Abd Raafidin Majidi
Asini @ Hasni bin Yahya
Sim Eng Hua
Simon Joseph Usau 
Joshua Jabeng
Alex Lehan
Abun Sui Anyit
Abdul Jalil bin Bujang
Bill Kayong
Mohdak Ismail
Elia Bit
Roland Engan
Pauls Baya

Thursday, May 5, 2016

BARU BIAN: BN’S DIRTY TACTICS DEPLORABLE


PRESS STATEMENT

5 MAY 2016



The BN style of campaigning in the rural areas has not changed. Their agents have started their dirty tactics, even in my village Siang Siang in Lawas.



People are going into the villages at night, asking the voters for their ICs and threatening them by saying things like “Kali ini mesti pilih BN, kalau tidak, macam-macam akan terjadi, seperti biasiswa anak akan di tarik balik”. Bullying the voters is a despicable and wretched act of desperation by people who have nothing better to offer. It is an insult to treat people in such a demeaning manner and I am outraged and disappointed that BN campaigners are still using this shameful tactic.



The FELDA chairman Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is also engaging in the politics of threats in his speeches, as reported in online media. This is unacceptable, especially from the head of a government agency. I hope the people realize by now that BN has nothing better to offer than bribes and threats. Oppression and suppression of the people must stop if we claim to be a democratic country.



People like Mohd Isa and other BN politicians who threaten our people and engage in vote-buying with repeated and endless empty promises should be rejected by Sarawakians. Our people deserve to be treated with a lot more respect than this.



I urge the people of Sarawak to be brave and courageous on 7 May 2016. Do not succumb to the intimidation tactics of the BN campaigners. We must exercise our democratic rights to choose the people we believe in, for our future and the future of our children. Vote for PKR for justice and fairness for all Sarawakians.



Baru Bian

N81 Ba’ Kelalan


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

BARU BIAN: ADVANCE EDUCATION? DILAPIDATED SCHOOLS AND DROPPING STANDARDS A LEGACY OF BN RULE


PRESS STATEMENT
3 MAY 2016

I refer to the promise of Adenan Satem and the Barisan Nasional (BN) in their manifesto to recognize and develop the potential of our youths for our future and to advance education and technical training.

After decades of BN rule, our rural students are still being taught in dilapidated schools, many of them with no proper electricity or water supply. The government can’t even offer our young generation decent facilities for a basic primary education, yet BN is not embarrassed to keep making the same promise election after election.

The 2014 Auditor General’s report stated that 85.5% of Sarawak schools are in a state of disrepair with schoolchildren studying in rotting or termite infested buildings or buildings with leaking sewage. The Education Blueprint 2013-2025 stated that ‘by 2013, critical repairs and upgrades will be completed across all 1,608 schools with critical needs’. It is now 2016, and in Ba’ Kelalan, 11 out of 12 schools are still in serious disrepair. SK Ba’ Kelalan, SK Long Luping and SK Long Sukang are still depending on old generators for their power supply and SK Long Sebangang suffers from lack of water.

As for new schools, 2 pieces of land in Long Semadoh had been officially acquired in 2003 to build SK Long Semadoh and SMK Long Semadoh but up to today, there are no signs that these schools will be built.

The Education Blueprint shows that Sarawak is at the 2nd last place in a comparison of performance across states for UPSR and SPM in 2011. In Sarawak, it is not uncommon that children start primary school without first attending preschool. I have been reliably informed that at UNIMAS, less than 50% of the students are Sarawakians. Why are there not more local students getting an education there?

Clearly, without a good foundation, the youth of Sarawak will not be able to handle advanced education if it is offered. To really make a difference, the government should make sure preschools are set up all in all rural areas, build modern boarding schools with the proper facilities and set up more colleges with City and Guilds standards or equivalent for vocational and skills training.

In our manifesto, PKR has promised to reform and improve the education system including immediately channeling RM1 Billion towards the renovation and upgrading of rural schools and dormitories, if we are given the chance to govern Sarawak. We will push for autonomy in Education so that we can bring back the high standards of education that we once enjoyed. Give your votes to PKR for a real change to our Education system. Our younger generation deserve much more than the dilapidated schools they have put up with for so long.

Baru Bian
N81 Ba’ Kelalan

BARU BIAN: POLICY DECISION ON CONVERSION CASES NEEDED


PRESS STATEMENT
3 MAY 2016 
I was glad to read the caretaker Chief Minister’s announcement that the PM would instruct the NRD to withdraw their appeal in the Rooney anak Rebit case after the matter was brought up at our press conference yesterday.  However, this should not be an isolated and one-off case which is resolved during this campaign period.
There are many other conversion cases that deserve the same attention from Adenan and the PM, if they are sincere in upholding the people’s rights to freedom of religion. 
As an example, in the case of Sharon Fiona Braoh @ Nur Shafiqah Abdullah, a Consent Order was obtained from the court that JAIS and the Majlis Agama Islam would state in writing that they had no objection for her to be released from the religion of Islam.
Despite being served with these letters, the NRD refused to amend Sharon Fiona’s IC and insisted that she obtain a letter of release from the Syariah Court. However, the Syariah Judiciary Department stated that they had no jurisdiction to issue the Sijil Peristiharan Keluar Islam as required by the NRD.
Sharon Fiona is caught in this game that is played by the NRD. There are several other cases where converts are trying go back to their former religions but are faced with many barriers. The PM must announce a policy that no Malaysian should be forced to remain in any religion against his or her will, and the caretaker Chief Minister must reassure Sarawakians that their freedom of religion is not merely illusory.
I suggest that a special council be set up to deal with matters of religion so that parties will not have to go through the long and emotionally draining court process to assert their rights to personal beliefs.
Baru Bian
N81 Ba’ Kelalan

RESPONSE ON ROONEY AK REBIT CASE


PRESS STATEMENT
2 MAY 2016

I refer to my statement this morning on the Rooney ak Rebit case and the response from the caretaker Chief Minister’s office this afternoon that he has spoken to the Prime Minister who has assured him that the appeal by the NRD will be withdrawn. 

Our concern has certainly caught the attention of the Chief Minister. However, we are not convinced that this issue has been resolved so long there is no clear policy on this. It should be policy that as long as the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department and the Sarawak Islamic Council have no objections, the NRD should not interfere by insisting on the person obtaining an order from the court.

The series of events today goes to show the importance of a strong opposition in checking the activities of the government and government bodies. I urge voters to vote for PKR to increase our voices in the Dewan Undangan Negeri for better protection of our rights. 

Lynette Tan
Joint Director of Operations
PKR Sarawak

ADENAN, WHAT SAY YOU ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION, AUTONOMY AND THE NRD?


PRESS STATEMENT



2 MAY 2016



In the excitement of nomination day on 25 April 2016, many Sarawakians would have missed the news that the National Registration Department (NRD) has filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision recognizing a Sarawakian Muslim convert’s right to be legally known as a Christian again. 



In a landmark ruling on March 24, the Kuching High Court ruled in Roneey anak Rebit's favour and ordered the NRD to issue a new MyKad with the name he was born with and with the Muslim classification removed. The High Court held that his conversion as a minor was not of his own volition and he had the constitutional rights to exercise his freedom of religion. The High Court also held that Rooney was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court as he could not be considered a Muslim.



It should be noted that of the 3 defendants in this case, the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department and the Sarawak Islamic Council did not appeal, but the NRD filed a notice of appeal on 22 April 2016. This situation perfectly illustrates the difference between the Sarawakians’ acceptances of the religious rights of all Sarawakians compared to the federal NRD attitude of refusing to acknowledge our rights. 



Now that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are virtually camping in Sarawak, they have the obligation to explain why the NRD insists on meddling with the religious freedom of Sarawakians. The NRD is under the purview of the Minister for Home Affairs, Zahid Hamidi. He should clarify whether he and the Prime Minister are on the same page as the caretaker Chife Minister on the issue of autonomy for Sarawak. 



This Rooney case is clear evidence that whatever Adenan may promise in relation to upholding the rights, safeguarding the harmony and preserving the beliefs of Sarawakians, he is not able to persuade the federal government to give Sarawakians the autonomy which is our right, and without this autonomy, Sarawakians are not free from the interference of the federal government and statutory bodies. 



Given the chance to govern, PKR has promised to uphold that while there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no State religion in Sarawak, and the provisions relating to Islam in the pre-1963 Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Sarawak. PKR promises to protect the right to religious freedom and practice in Sarawak for all religions as guaranteed in the Federal and State Constitutions.



Vote for PKR to fight for real autonomy and real freedom of religion for all Sarawakians.



Lynette Tan

Joint Director of Operations

PKR Sarawak

Monday, April 18, 2016

Baru Bian: PKR Sarawak welcomes abolishment of ‘Lain-lain’, calls to gazette 22 July as public holiday in recognition of Self-Government Day


Media statement
18 April 2016

Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak welcomes the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to remove ‘Lain-lain’ from all official forms in Sarawak, which is in line with the call that has been made by PKR all the while. We thank Putrajaya for implementing PKR’s policy and we would like to stress that PKR is going to implement more policies that will benefit the people of Sarawak if we are given the mandate by the people in this coming state election.

PKR has been calling for removal of ‘Lain-lain’ in official forms for a long time, and in our 18-Point Roadmap launched in August 2015, we had incorporated that pledge as part of our very first point themed Sovereignty and Governance. (Please refer to the 18-Point Roadmap attached.)

In our 18-Point Roadmap, we have also put in plan to gazette 22 July as public holiday for Sarawak in recognition of our Self-Government Day, also known by some people as the ‘Independence Day’ of Sarawak.

Over the last five years, PKR state assemblymen had been vocal in championing interests of the Sarawakians both inside and outside the State Legislative Assembly. For instance, among the significant motions that we had tabled in the assembly was to regain Sarawak’s autonomy in education through the Malaysia Agreement, as well as calling the state government to object implementation of Territorial Sea Act 2012 which is detrimental to interest of Sarawak, both of which were passed unaniamously in the assembly.

We believe that our efforts in championing the interests of Sarawak people are being noticed and some changes are taking place. What we need now is a stronger mandate from the people in order to maintain that momentum of positive reform and to bring more changes for a better Sarawak.

Should we given the mandate, we shall endeavour to constitute the Sarawak Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (SARACAT) that will hold hearings to investigate important issues concerning Sarawak, as a means for better governance in the state; we shall also move ahead to investigate allegations of graft, fraud, misappropriation, malfeasance, criminal breaches of trust, and profiteering without fear or favour and to initiate legal proceedings as a consequence for full restitution of public funds.

We invite the people to join hands with PKR Sarawak to embark on journey to strive for a better future of Sarawak.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak


BARU BIAN: NO CLARITY FROM ‘CLARIFICATION’ BY LAND AND SURVEY


PRESS STATEMENT
17 APRIL 2016

I refer to the report in the Borneo Post today, which purports to be a clarification of the position of the perimeter survey carried out by the Land and Survey Department. Not surprisingly, the so-called clarification totally avoids the burning issue that is at the crux of the whole NCR debate, ie the government’s refusal to accept that Pulau Galau and Pemakai Menoa are part and parcel of the natives’ NCR lands, as recognized by the courts in Malaysia. In fact, it is an admission that the government is turning NCR land into native communal reserve under s6, which creates shared ownership by the community, possibly including those who have no NCR rights.

We welcome the fact that some natives are given compensation where surveyed land has been acquired, as is their right. These lands are the temuda lands of the people anyway. However, there are many cases where other natives in similar situations are denied compensation, and many other cases where untitled NCR is acquired without any compensation being paid. To my knowledge, there are over 200 such cases, for example, in Kakus.

The point to be stressed is the fact that the areas which the authorities are willing to survey and issue titles for are confined the temuda lands which were cleared before 1 January 1958. The larger areas making up the pemakai menoa and pulau galau are not included. Besides the fact that the surveyed lands are classified as communal land, the proviso accompanying such perimeter surveys is that any areas outside of the s 6 title granted are classified as state land. This is something that is not made known to the people who gleefully and gratefully receive the communal s 6 titles thinking they are individual longhouse land titles.

We also question the purpose of conducting s 6 perimeter surveys instead of surveying under s 18 and issuing titles straightaway. Why does the government want to conduct s 6 perimeter surveys first? Is this a way for the government to delay and deny the NCR rights of the people of Sarawak? The total area of NCR land if it includes pemakai menoa and pulau galau could easily be more than 3 times the 1.5 million hectares of existing NCR lands as disclosed by Awang Tengah not long ago. The s6 perimeter surveys are merely distractions by the government to cover up the unsavoury truth about their refusal to recognize the whole NCR lands of the people. They have too much to lose.

Whatever statements or clarifications made by the government, their intentions are obvious and crystal clear from their actions in the legal cases pertaining to NCR lands and in their conduct in the State Assembly. The unsavoury truth is that the government refuses to recognize the full native customary rights lands of the people. This is why they appealed to the Federal Court in TR Sandah’s case and this is why they rejected my attempts to have the definition of ‘Native Customary Rights’ in the Land Code amended to include pemakai menoa and pulau galau.

It would be much better for the people to support a Pakatan Government – we have pledged to recognize that the NCR lands of the people include the temuda, pemakai menoa and pulau galau. It is written for all to see in our policy documents, notably our 18-Point roadmap for the upcoming Sarawak elections.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

BARU BIAN: PKR SARAWAK ASSERTS AUTONOMY IN SEAT NEGOTIATIONS


PRESS STATEMENT
15 APRIL 2016

The air has been thick with speculations about the seat allocations among the Pakatan Harapan parties. Whilst the negotiations at the Presidential Council level have not been finalised, we have received some indications that the negotiations had been steered in a direction that was against the mandate of the MPN Sarawak. It should be noted that we would have preferred to have carried on with negotiations at the local level but we acquiesced when DAP asked for talks to be moved to the national level. It must also be noted that MPN Sarawak had stipulated to our national leaders at the outset that should the talks be moved to the national level, we reserved our veto powers if the decisions made are not in keeping with our mandate.

We are appreciative of the efforts of several of our national leaders in negotiating on our behalf in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately what has been communicated to us at this stage pertaining to the allocation of seats is not in line with what had been decided at state level. For the sake of fairness to our local members, and in order to uphold the integrity of MPN Sarawak with regard to our duty and undertaking to our potential candidates, we have made the decision to exercise our veto powers reserved at the outset. We have indicated to our national leaders that we are unable to accept the decisions made at their level in so far as the allocation of seats is concerned. MPN Sarawak is henceforth taking back the mandate given and we will make the final decisions on the seats we are contesting based on our KPI results. Our decisions will be based purely on the winnability of our candidate, and not for any other reasons.

We believe that in taking this step, we are merely giving effect to the autonomy that has been acknowledged by our national leaders as being our right. We trust that they will accept our decision, as this would be a positive indicator of their stand vis a vis the autonomy of Sarawak within the Federation of Malaysia, and the position they will take when the opposition finally gets the mandate to govern the country.

Moreover, we have been very accommodating in our seat claims. This time, we have staked our claim on only 40 seats, as opposed to the 49 seats that we contested at the last elections. With the increase of 11 seats in Sarawak, our claims have not increased but in fact reduced, as we were always willing to share, and have indeed shared, more seats with our PH partners. We believe that we have been upfront and open with our partners at all times and we have always accorded the respect and honour due to our partners within the coalition.

It is regrettable that certain parties have seen fit to jeopardise the opposition coalition’s potential to increase our seats in the coming elections by their conduct these past few months whilst negotiations were taking place. For this reason, MPN Sarawak firmly believes that we must resume control of our destiny in this 11th Sarawak Elections. We are the people of Sarawak and we must do what is best for Sarawak.

Baru Bian
Chairman, PKR Sarawak





Thursday, April 14, 2016

10 reasons why Najib is accountable on 1MDB


P Gunasegaram     Published


QUESTION TIME Does the release of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report last week exonerate Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of all wrongdoing in relation to 1Malaysia Development Bhd as the usual suspects are claiming? Absolutely not, because Najib is ultimately culpable for everything that has gone wrong at 1MDB.

We give 10 reasons why Najib must be held accountable for 1MDB - he is more accountable than anyone else, including one former CEO who may become the fall guy for this entire sad, sorry episode.

But before that, let’s dispel another notion. Does that PAC report say that all monies are accounted for in 1MDB and there was no wrongdoing? Absolutely not, although some are trying to paint the picture that way.

From all previous evidence, it is crystal clear that 1MDB was not a mistake but a wilful, scheming, brazen, unprecedented and greedy pilferage of billions of ringgit of the nation’s limited resources as comprehensively detailed out in this series of articles and many other sources of information in the last three years.

Just to summarise, mispricing of loans alone at 1MDB could have given others gains of as much as RM6 billion while a further RM4 billion involves strange collateral arrangements and exorbitant payments for options, clearly a means to siphon money out of 1MDB.

Questionable asset selection accounted for some RM27 billion, while overpayment of advisers come up to some RM2 billion and a payment to a Jho Low-linked company came up to RM2.6 billion. That’s almost RM42 billion lost and/or at risk.

Now back to those ridiculous, ludicrous and completely illogical attempts to absolve Najib of all blame for 1MDB. Here’s 10 reasons why he is the person most responsible and should be held accountable.

1. It is Najib’s brainchild. 1MDB was his idea in the first place. He conceived it and envisaged it as a strategic development company which will bring in foreign direct investment and enable investments in strategic areas. It is inconceivable that Najib will not be involved in every aspect of 1MDB’s operations. If it’s your baby, you will nurse it.

2. Najib is prime minister. As prime minister Najib has ultimate responsibility that the billions raised and invested by government companies are completely above board and are done for proper purposes.

If a state corporation goes into debt to the tune of RM50 billion and has little to show for it, Najib should have been on top of it.

Questions about 1MDB appeared in the media as far back as 2009 when it raised some RM5 billion in government guaranteed bonds at an excessive interest rate which gave those fortunate enough to get first bite at the bonds a windfall of some RM1 billion.

3. Najib is finance minister. Okay, as prime minister, he would have left matters to the ministers and others when it came to 1MDB, right? Even if that was a correct argument, he can’t plead that because he was and is finance minister - through the entire episode.

1MDB is directly and wholly owned by the Finance Ministry through Minister of Finance Inc, its corporate arm. In fact, all shareholder resolutions under the law has to be signed by the finance minister who is the shareholder’s representative.

Further, according to Article 117 (c) of 1MDB’s memorandum and articles of association, any financial commitment (including investment), restructuring or any other matter which is likely to affect the guarantee given by the Federal Government for the benefit of the company, the national interest, national security or any policy of the government, has to get written approval from the prime minister. Najib must have known about all of 1MDB’s major dealings.

4. Najib is chairperson of 1MDB’s advisory board. Although he is not chairman of the board of directors or on the board of 1MDB, he must have known of all the major dealings, and should have made it his business to know, as chairman of the advisory board.

5. Najib put it above GLC supervisory norms. Government-linked companies, or GLCs, have in the last few years undergone major transformation to strengthen their governance, ensure greater transparency, and set up detailed procurement practices, amongst others.

While governance of GLCs, especially those under government investment company Khazanah Nasional Bhd, have improved tremendously over the years, it was rather a strange thing to set up a company which would run up RM50 billion in debt with none of the control procedures which are now standard practice in other GLCs. Why?

6. Najib knew about the strange practices. From the foregoing, Najib knew or ought to have known about the strange practices happening at 1MDB. In fact, former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had confirmed to the PAC that Najib approved the US$1 billion initial investment in the highly dubious PetroSaudi venture, 1MDB’s first major investment.

Also, as shareholder representative, Najib would have had to sign termination letters for 1MDB’s auditors after the auditors had raised important queries over the accounts of the so-called strategic development company. He would have known what were the issues the auditors raised when he decided to terminate their services.

7. Najib did nothing to stop strange and questionable practices. Despite knowing about these activities, Najib did nothing to further investigate these activities, to stop them and bring the culprits to book.

8. Najib quashed investigations into 1MDB. In fact, he quashed investigations into 1MDB when the former attorney-general (AG) was removed under extremely strange conditions and new a one was appointed in his place. The new AG not only exonerated Najib of wrongdoing in the unprecedented RM2.6 billion (now RM4.2 billion) “donation”, he dismantled a multi-agency investigative committee looking into 1MDB.

Meantime, the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB which has been substantially leaked in the foreign media, continues to be a classified secret under the Official Secrets Act to prevent its dissemination within Malaysia. Why put the one serious investigation on 1MDB under the infamous OSA if it is not to stop the spread of damaging information?

9. Najib denies any wrongdoing. Despite a mountain of evidence indicating major wrongdoing at 1MDB and further mounting evidence, Najib, BN and current 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy continue to sing the same refrain and insist that all is well at 1MDB.

And this when several international jurisdictions are already conducting serious investigations into the 1MDB money trail.

10. Najib could have put things right but he did not. When 1MDB mispriced its first RM5 billion bond issue way back in 2009 and raised eyebrows and suspicions in the international financial markets, it would have been the time to act, bring the miscreants to book and put this sad excuse of a “strategic development company” back on the right path. But that did not happen, raising very serious questions as to Najib’s role in the whole episode.

Yes, Najib is still very much accountable for 1MDB. Nothing in the PAC report says otherwise. And nothing in the PAC report says that all the money at 1MDB is accounted for and that there were no questionable or corrupt practices at 1MDB. Anyone who says otherwise is simply lying.

Former editor now consultant, trainer and writer P GUNASEGARAM likes this quote by Joe Biden: “Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defence. It’s patriotism.” E-mail: t.p.guna@gmail.com.

~ Malaysiakini

Exposed! Real intention of NCR land perimeter survey

by Joseph Tawie

OPINION: Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Awang Tengah Ali Hassan has revealed that a total of 644,448 ha of native customary rights (NCR) land in 433 areas have been perimeter surveyed under Section 6 of the Land Code up to September last year.

Of the number, the Department of Lands and Surveys had gazetted 425,999 hectares involving 295 areas as communal reserves under Section 6.

Have the Dayaks been intentionally “robbed” off their NCR land when they have no more rights to their land after they were gazetted as Native Communal Reserves?

This was the question posed by a tuai rumah (longhouse chief) in Spak, Betong when he found out that NCR lands belonging to residents from 52 longhouses were now known as “Native Communal Reserves”.

“When we were presented with this beautifully framed map and the official looking certificate in a ceremony officiated by YB Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Alfred Jabu anak Numpang in early 2014, we were led to believe that this is our longhouse land title,” said a representative of Tuai Rumah Timang Geramong from Rantau Lelayang longhouse in Spak in Betong.

“However, written at the top of the frame are the words ‘Pewartaaan Rizab Gunasama’ (Gazette of Communal Reserve) and this means the land is ‘Tanah Galau Bekunsi’ in Iban.

“Were we intentionally misled by the authorities?” he asked.   

Another longhouse headman Tuai Rumah Ambu Kadukom of Lempaong longhouse said that based on Section 6.3 of the Land Code, these lands have always been state lands.

“Are we therefore ‘orang tumpang’ (squatters) living on our own lands since January 18, 2011?” questioned Ambu.

According to Section 6.4 of the Land Code the BN government can take these lands from them anytime without their consent since they are only ‘pemegai lisin’ (licensees), and the compensation amount is at the discretion of the government.

“This means we have no absolute rights whatsoever over these lands, unless they are converted to Section 18.

“If the BN is sincere, then give us Section 18 straightaway, why Section 6 first?” demanded Tuai Rumah Merundie Lindang of Batu Pesok longhouse.

The order to convert their lands into native communal reserves was published through the Sarawak Government Gazette dated July 26, 2013,

The order stipulated that their NCR lands have been ordered to come under Section 6 of the Land Code and the order was deemed to have come into force on the January 18, 2011.



All 19 longhouses in the Spak tributary have been gazetted under Section 6 and so are 18 longhouses in the Padeh area.

Tuai Rumah Esley Bedindang, a retired police officer from Stambak Ulu Asal, Layar, raised a glaring point: “Since our temuda farmlands have been perimeter surveyed without our prior consent or knowledge and gazetted under Section 6, what about the larger communal NCR lands that have not been surveyed at all?

“We consider these lands as our pemakai menua (territorial domain) where we hunt, fish and gather jungle produce and our pulau galau (reserved forests) which we keep fallow as large pockets of untouched forest reserves.

“Are our Pemakai Menua and Pulau Galau now automatically becoming state lands, like what has happened in Machan and other Dayak areas all over Sarawak where there are on-going disputes over land rights?” he asked.

Another retired senior civil servant Unding Ringkai from Nanga Tebalau in Middle Layar, said that many of these longhouses in the Spak and Padeh were involved in the Getah (rubber) IRAD scheme, including many other longhouses in the Middle and Lower Layar.

The participants were offered free rubber seedlings, free fertilizers, free pesticides, free construction of access dirt roads to the farmlands and free training.

But under this scheme they had to have their temuda (farmed) lands perimeter surveyed, he said.

Uding said that many of the participants were not aware that their farmlands were perimeter surveyed by contractors appointed by the Agriculture Department and Risda.

In a report published in the Berita Iban Section of the Utusan Borneo, dated March 15, 2016, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Douglas Uggah Embas confirmed that all temuda farmlands under the Getah IRAD scheme in Betong were perimeter surveyed and gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code.

Are they too losing their NCR lands?

“This is an extremely serious matter as all the temuda lands of longhouses along the Layar that participated in the Getah IRAD scheme, including the 18 longhouses of Padeh and the 19 longhouses of Spak, have been gazetted under Section 6 of the Land Code,” said Vernon Aji Kedit, Sarawak PKR information chief.

“Many longhouse residents are still unaware that their NCR lands have been perimeter surveyed and that the unsurveyed NCR lands like pemakai menua and pulau galau have automatically become state lands”.

He said that in legal terms, the landowners of Layar who do not possess ‘pala tanah’ (titled lands) have all surrendered and lost their customary rights over their NCR lands, including those with JOT lands that were fully recognised during the Rajahs and the British colonial periods pre-1963.

He said many Betong longhouse residents are under the impression that their NCR lands are still safely theirs.

They were wrong, he said.

“The BN government keeps telling them that the opposition is lying and that the government will not take their NCR lands.

“But today we have produced irrefutable evidence gazetted by the government itself that the entire Spak, Ulu Layar and Padeh are under Section 6 with effect from January 18, 2011.

“These lands are now known as native communal reserves,” stressed Kedit, who is PKR candidate for Layar.

The “truth” about the perimeter survey on NCR land has not only angered the Dayak landowners in Betong, but also in other parts of Sarawak.

It is becoming the hottest election issue.

- See more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Exposed-Real-intention-of-NCR-land-perimeter-survey#sthash.vgc1iHcB.dpuf

BARU BIAN: INDISCRIMINATE BANNING OF OPPOSITION MEMBERS A SIGN OF CM’S WEAKNESS


PRESS STATEMENT

11 APRIL 2016



The banning of Penang State Exco member Dato’ Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim yesterday by the Sarawak authorities is a sign that the Chief Minister is no different from his predecessor, whatever he may say and in spite of the nice-guy image that he tries to cultivate.



We agree that the rights of Sarawakians should be protected, including our rights to control entry under the Immigration Act. However, the power to deny entry must be exercised in good faith and for the right reasons, such as to keep out extremists and criminals. The parliamentarians and assemblymen and assemblywomen who have been banned by the Chief Minister were coming for the ‘sole purpose of engaging in legitimate political activity’, which is permitted under s 67 of the Immigration Act. These visits were merely to see our PKR members and to discuss party matters. The flimsy excuses given by BN politicians for the banning of opposition leaders are only attracting ridicule and scorn from the public.



Our right to deny entry under the Immigration Act 1959 was designed to prevent the exploitation of Sarawakians at a time when we were lagging behind in economic and infrastructure development. Sadly, it has been used by the BN administration as a political tool for many years. This is a blatant case of abuse of power by the CM who is clearly determined that there will be no level playing field in Sarawak during the elections next month.



The public is free to judge for themselves whether this is a leader worth supporting – someone who does not play fair, and who will resort to lowly tactics to gain unfair advantage over his opponents. It is time to vote out the BN who have had too many years and too many chances. Sarawak is still one of the poorest ‘states’ in Malaysia and we are lagging behind in every aspect. BN is only interested in protecting their own interests, when they should be treating Sarawakians with the respect they deserve. Do not insult Sarawakians’ intelligence by depriving them of their rights to fair and free elections and to make fully informed choices. By banning opposition members and giving lame excuses, the CM is showing his weakness: his fear that the public may actually favour the alternative vision of the opposition for their future. What is there to fear if you have done a good job as CM?



A Pakatan Harapan government will protect and preserve the rights of Sarawakians, but in a proper and legitimate manner. Fairness and justice must be restored to the administration of Sarawak for the better future of Sarawakians.



Baru Bian

Chairman, PKR Sarawak

Lawyers: International probes on 1MDB could see arrests in M'sia

Geraldine Tong


International investigations of 1MDB can result in the charging or extradition of anyone who is found to have committed offences, lawyer Syahredzan Johan said.

"If at the end of the day, they find evidence that persons have committed offences, then they can certainly bring charges.

"Even if those persons are not citizens of that country, just like if there are non-citizens here who commit offences, the authorities here can take action," Syahredzan explained, when contacted by Malaysiakini today.

If the persons are not within their jurisdictions, he said the international investigators would have to explore ways to secure the persons, which may include extradition.

He added that extradition requests can be made for financial crimes as well, though it would depend if there is an extradition treaty between that country and Malaysia.

"If there is no treaty, and if an extradition request is made, then it would be up to the Home Ministry whether to fulfill that request," he said.

He conceded that there are many "permutations" and it would be difficult for him to make any sort of sweeping statement on the state of the law.

"But I can say, if the Malaysian authorities refuse to cooperate with any of the investigations, either by way of a request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) or extradition, it will look really bad on us.

"It would look as if we have got things to hide," he added.

Interpol red notice

Alternatively, fellow lawyer Andrew Khoo said that the international investigators could ask for international assistance to detain the persons and to send them to their jurisdiction through, for example, an Interpol red notice.

He also pointed out that there are two main issues with international investigations such as these.

The first issue is whether a country has the jurisdiction to charge for a particular offence, he said.
 
"In this day and age, especially for transboundary, international, cross border corruption or money laundering and things like that, most countries now do have the enabling legislation to give themselves jurisdiction to charge for these kinds of offences," he said to Malaysiakini.

A country would have jurisdiction to charge someone even if the person was not a citizen of the country, but the offence had been committed within the country, he said, such as if money transactions went through the country.

Some countries would also have jurisdiction to do so, he explained, if the situation was reversed, where the persons were citizens of that country, although the act was not committed within the country.

The second challenge then, he said, would be actually apprehending the person, even if they might have the jurisdiction to charge them.

"You may have jurisdiction over the crime, but can you get to the person?" he pointed out.

As such, this would require the cooperation of the law enforcement agency of the country where that persons actually are.

While he agreed with Syahredzan that extradition requests would depend on whether an extradition treaty exists between the country and Malaysia, he said that if there wasn't, the persons' lawyers will argue that there is no possibility of extradition without a treaty.

Immunity for heads of gov't

Asked what other steps the international investigators could do if faced with that situation, he said that they would have to wait till the persons travelled to a country that does have an extradition treaty with the country that wants to arrest them.

However, Khoo noted that some countries do grant immunity from arrest to existing heads of state or government.

"But once they step down from office, they lose their immunity," he added.

In response to one of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's lawyers, Mohd Hafarizam Harun, questioning whether the jurisdiction of international investigators extends to a prime minister of Malaysia, Khoo stressed that a corrupt act is a corrupt act, regardless of who committed it.

"Unless that person is claiming sovereign immunity. Even if such an immunity exists in a country, it does not normally extend to acts of alleged corruption," he said.

1MDB is currently the focus of several international probes, including in Switzerland, Singapore, the US and Luxembourg, in relation to suspected misappropriation of funds from 1MDB and allegations of money-laundering.

Last month, the Swiss Attorney-General's Office (OAG) said it was in contact with Malaysia over its request for MLA in the criminal proceeding concerning 1MDB.

The OAG's communication specialist Anthony Brovarone had said that the OAG cannot provide further information on the matter but that they were satisfied with Malaysia's reaction.

Though 1MDB has consistently denied any wrongdoing, they have said that they remain committed to fully cooperating with any lawful authority and investigation.

Baru pledges autonomous S’wak under Pakatan

William Mangor | April 11, 2016

The Opposition’s stand on Sarawak’s rights and status has been crystal clear, consistent and certain from the beginning, and was set out in manifestos and policy documents.


KUCHING: It was his submission, stressed Sarawak Opposition Chief Baru Bian on Sunday at the first polls debate of its kind in Sarawak, “that it was without a doubt” that PKR together with partners had made it very, very clear that their policies were carefully articulated. “We would maintain the autonomous right of Sarawak within the Federation and protect these rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the 18 points agreement (Sarawak) upon which Malaysia was formed.”
 

Baru, speaking at the “Safeguarding Sarawak” Debate, stressed several key points in his address before an 800-strong gathering at the Kenyalang Theatre in Kuching. The participants included representatives from the UN and observers from Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
 

On religion, he said that no other political party had seen the need to remind the Sarawak Government that the state had no religion. “This is the very fundamental right of Sarawakians, that there’s no official religion in Sarawak, a point that was fought for by our forefathers. It must be maintained.”
 

“PKR Sarawak’s stand on this matter was public knowledge as it was widely reported in the press and online media.”
 

In fact, he added that he brought up on two occasions, glaring errors in government websites that stated that Bahasa Malaysia was Sarawak’s official language and that Islam was the official religion. “These entries were removed from the websites.”

The latest incident on the official religion issue was during the last Sarawak Assembly sitting in December 2015, said Baru. “I demanded an explanation from the Chief Minister as to why the government’s official portal www.sarawak.gov.my , under the tab ‘Visitors’, states that Islam is the official religion of Sarawak.”
 

“The first time was in the Chief Minister’s State Planning Unit’s website under ‘Sarawak Facts and Figures 2010’. “
On the status of English as Sarawak’s official language, said Baru who is also PKR Sarawak Chairman, he first raised the issue in 2012 in the May session of the Sarawak Assembly. “I also raised the issue in statements in the press each time some misguided civil servant called for the enforcement of the use of Bahasa Malaysia in official documents.”
 

“I am very glad that the Chief Minister agreed with me on this point, when he said it publicly but only at the end of last year.”
 

Baru, continuing, said the Opposition’s manifesto for GE13 pledged that a Federal Government under Pakatan will recognize UEC for admission for higher education. “Although the Chief Minister has said the state government recognizes UEC, long after we declared it, the Federal Barisan Nasional (BN) Government disagreed with him.”
 

The Opposition’s stand on Sarawak’s rights and status has been crystal clear, consistent and certain from the beginning, and was set out in manifestos and policy documents, said Baru.
 

He listed the policy documents in the public domain that had been publicly launched: Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto 2011 (Sarawak Elections 2011); Submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee for Electoral Reform 2011; the Kuching Declaration dated 16 September, 2012; Manifesto Rakyat 2013 (General Elections 2013); and 18-Point Roadmap 2015 (Sarawak Elections 2016).
 

Among the issues consistently addressed in these documents, he said, were Sarawak as an autonomous state and equal partner within the Federation of Malaysia, within the framework of the Federal Constitution; guarantee to increase petroleum royalty for Sabah and Sarawak to 20 per cent; land reform and the setting up of a Land Commission, on Native Customary Rights (NCR), was in all four policy documents; guarantee of Freedom of Religion; and Borneonisation of the civil service.


~ Free Malaysia Today